Pope says Church should ask forgiveness from gays for past treatment

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE - Pope Francis said on Sunday that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them.

In an hour-long conversation with reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, Francis was asked if he agreed with recent comments by a German Roman Catholic cardinal that the Church should apologise to gays.

He recalled Church teachings that homosexuals "should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally."

He added: "I think that the Church not only should apologise ... to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologise to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologise for having blessed so many weapons."

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